Feb 26 2012

Critical End! Live Blogs the 84th Annual Academy Awards


UPDATE: Another awesome year! Read the recap below for post-Oscar reminiscing.

The fun starts later tonight, folks. Stay tuned to this post.

Feb 21 2012

Announcing the Critical End! Oscar Live Blog 2012


"No words? Screw The Artist."

This Sunday (4PT/7ET on ABC) grand dame of awards shows Billy Crystal returns to the small screen to make us feel like maybe we care about the Oscars still. And it must be working already, because Logan and I are on board for another year of live bloggin’ fun.

How does it work you ask? Don’t worry, you big dumb idiot. It’s easy. When you sit down to watch the awards, make sure you’ve got your laptop (or mobile device!) tuned to this site where you’ll find running commentary by me and Logan for the entirety of the broadcast. Check out the snazzy replays of our 2011, 2010,or 2009 events to get the idea.

Don’t have someone to enjoy the show with? Join us and post your comments! Do have someone to enjoy the show with? Ignore them and hang out with us instead.

Feb 20 2012

What the World Needs Now is a Good Rupert Grinting

If The Woman in Black proved anything, it’s that I want to see those scrappy little Harry Potter kids cleaned up and out there acting their magic-infused little hearts out, God bless ’em.  Daniel Radcliffe has already had a few other things up his sleeve, such as performing nude in New York and becoming a teen alcoholic.  Emma Watson has managed to branch out by cutting her hair and dropping out of college. 

But what of Rupert Grint?  I remember back in the day discussing the future of his career with Ryan.  We both guessed that he would go on to be an enjoyable comedic actor of limited range.  However, Harry Potter has now come to an end, and Rupert has yet to have any crazy tabloid moments, let alone that major “I’m a real actor now” moment.  

Well, Rupert, I just thought I’d let you know that all of your pals at Critical End! are waiting.  We know your big moment is coming, it’s just a matter of time.  Sure, some people say that you don’t have a career because, well, you’re kinda ugly.  But us?  We say, sure, that’s actually true.  But some girls dig pale, red-headed, freckled love machines like yourself.  So, chin up, Rupert!

Listen, I think my old college pal Parry Gripp said it best:

via Parry Gripp

Feb 15 2012

3 Great Things About Ghostbusters That Have Nothing to Do with Bill Murray


There’s been a lot of talk about the upcoming/rumored/probably-never-going-to-happen Ghostbusters 3. The most recent word is that Dan Aykroyd is so serious about getting the thing made, he’s willing to recast Bill Murray. Of course, that’s a terrible idea, and if Aykroyd actually said that, I doubt he was serious. Even if he was, they got Murray for the damned Ghostbusters video game, so I have trouble believing that he won’t cave and at least film a cameo if this sequel ever actually gets made.

"Just kiddin' folks! Zip ziparooooo!"

But whether it’s true or not, it’s got everybody in an uproar, with some bloggers and commenters going so far as to say that Bill Murray was the only good thing about the film. Now I love(d) Bill Murray. He is a fantastically talented dude who gave us some of the funniest performances in film history. Hasn’t done much for me lately, but whatever. He’s brilliant, and he’s definitely a huge asset to Ghostbusters. But, c’mon people, turn away from your Wes Anderson love shrine for a second. Time for a reality check. Let me remind you of 3 Great Things About Ghostbusters That Have Nothing to Do with Bill Murray:

#3. It’s Got a Damn Good Script
Yes, Bill Murray absolutely improvised extra lines during filming, and the ones that made the final cut are hysterical. But over the years, it’s become popular to believe that Murray just strolled onto the set and said whatever dialog came into his head. Heck, he probably wrote most of the other characters’ lines too, right before inventing modern comedy, then ascending to the heavens on a rocket-cloud made of laughter.

"Guys, in this scene I'm thinkin' we bust ghosts. Cuz it makes me feel good."

Actually, 90% of what you see onscreen can be found right here. That’s the shooting script, and it took several revisions by Aykroyd and Harold Ramis to turn a really basic idea into the tight, funny movie we know and love. And it’s not only funny. Ghostbusters is tense, full of action, and–at times–scary as shit. It’s just a great movie, plain and simple. Bill Murray made it measurably better, but it would have been great even without him.

#2. It’s Fun to Watch
I don’t just mean the effects are good, though they are. I mean it’s well-paced and visually interesting. Take out the funny dialog and you’d still have a decent action/adventure flick with some excellent set pieces.

Our heroes use neat weapons, trash every room they enter, get covered in slime, and drive a pimped out hearse. All while the coolest theme song in movie history plays in the background. Ghostbusters has some truly imaginative action scenes. The thing ends with a battle for all of New York City against a demon and a giant monster from hell (the latter conjured from the mind of one of our heroes) and they end up beating it at the last second with experimental science. Then one of them kisses a girl and they ride into the sunset as the entire city cheers. And those are just the parts of the movie that people DON’T EVEN TALK ABOUT because they’re too busy buying t-shirts that say “Back off man, I’m a scientist”, which, incidentally, is a line that was in the script.

#1 It’s Got a Great Cast That Isn’t Bill Murray
Again, Bill Murray is great. But so is literally everyone else in this movie and they don’t get half the credit he does. You’ve got Aykroyd rattling off paragraphs of rapid-fire psuedo-science with the enthusiasm of a five-year-old, Ramis doing some of the most underrated deadpan comedy in cinema, and of course Rick Moranis who is…just…


So, one last time: Bill Murray is great. I’m talking really really super extra great times infinity levels of greatness. But Ghostbusters is an awesome movie in its own right. He’s the icing, not the cake. Let’s all stop playing into this idea that the man is a hipster god who can do no wrong, and give some credit where credit’s due.

Feb 10 2012

Our Complete Movie Ratings for 2011


Midnight in Paris and The Artist? When the hell did we get so classy? Anywho, remember you can check our respective IMDb pages (Logan here and Ryan here) year round if you want to see what we gave a particular film. But here, for your reference, is each of our complete ratings for 2011.  And below that, our respective best and worst lists.

To hear us chat about this year in movies, make sure to catch our 2011 Wrap-Up podcast.

All ratings are on a 10 point scale.


Johnny English Reborn – 8
Midnight in Paris – 8
Super 8 – 8
Chillerama – 7
Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol – 7
The Adventures of Tintin – 7
Contagion – 7
Rise of the Planet of the Apes – 7
Limitless – 7
The Greatest Movie Ever Sold – 7
Apollo 18 – 6
Blitz – 6
Conan the Barbarian – 6
Captain America: The First Avenger – 6
X-Men: First Class – 6
Hanna – 6
The Beaver – 6
Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop – 6
Hall Pass – 6
Our Idiot Brother – 6
The Resident – 6
Kill the Irishman – 6
The Muppets – 5
30:Minutes or Less – 5
Cowboys & Aliens – 5
Lucky – 5
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 – 5
Horrible Bosses – 5
Larry Crowne – 5
Priest – 5
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides – 5
Scream 4 – 5
Sucker Punch – 5
Paul – 5
Source Code – 5
Battle Los Angeles – 5
Red Riding Hood – 5
Take Me Home Tonight – 5
Drive Angry – 5
I Am Number Four – 5
Unknown – 5
Rango – 5
Husk – 5
The Green Hornet – 5
Faces in the Crowd – 4
Abduction – 4
Colombiana – 4
The Caller – 4
The Change-Up – 4
Mr. Popper’s Penguins – 4
Green Lantern – 4
Something Borrowed – 4
Thor – 4
The Task – 4
Seconds Apart – 4
The Mechanic – 4
Hobo with a Shotgun – 4
New Year’s Eve – 3
Shark Night 3D – 3
Fright Night – 3
Your Highness – 3
Mars Needs Moms – 3
The Adjustment Bureau – 3
Beastly – 3
Attack the Block – 3
51 – 3
National Lampoon’s Dirty Movie – 3
The Roommate – 3
The Rite – 3
Season of the Witch – 3
Not Another Not Another Movie – 3


The Artist – 9
50/50 – 8
Fright Night – 8
Captain America: The First Avenger – 8
X-Men: First Class – 8
Midnight in Paris – 8
The Muppets – 8
The Descendants – 7
Moneyball – 7
Real Steel – 7
Rise of the Planet of the Apes – 7
Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop – 7
Bridesmaids – 7
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 – 7
Super 8 – 7
Thor – 7
Source Code – 7
Drive Angry – 7
Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol – 7
Horrible Bosses – 6
Drive – 6
The Change-Up – 6
The Hangover Part II – 6
Red State – 6
Cowboys & Aliens – 6
Hobo with a Shotgun – 6
Larry Crowne – 6
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides – 6
Scream 4 – 6
The Adjustment Bureau – 6
Limitless – 6
The Roommate – 6
Red Riding Hood – 5
The Mechanic – 5
The Rite – 5
Unknown – 5
Margin Call – 4
Green Lantern – 4

Logan’s Best of 2011
1. Midnight in Paris
2. Super 8
3. Johnny English Reborn
4. Limitless
5. Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol

Logan’s Worst of 2011
1. Shark Night 3D
2. Mars Needs Moms
3. Beastly
4. Your Highness
5. The Adjustment Bureau

Logan’s Yearly Average – 4.91

Ryan’s Best of 2011
1. The Artist
2. The Muppets
3. Fright Night
4. Captain America: The First Avenger
5. Midnight in Paris

Ryan’s Worst of 2011
1. Green Lantern
2. Margin Call
3. The Rite
4. Unknown
5. Red Riding Hood

Ryan’s Yearly Average – 6.50

Feb 6 2012

Big Events? Yeah, We Got Those

I trust you all had a great weekend.  Ryan and I spent most of it cleaning out the ol’ “Critical End Podcast Theater” (or, as it’s officially called, “The Tim Burton’s Career Pre-Planet of the Apes Memorial Theater”) in order to get ready for the recording of our big “Best and Worst of 2011” show tonight.  Unfortunately, all the imaginary tickets to the event sold out months ago.  However, no worries as you’ll be able to download the full show soon enough.

Speaking of sold out events, we’re also proud to announce our annual “Critical End! Oscar Live Blog 2012!”  Granted, things may be a bit harder this year as the Oscars had to go and finally get a competent host, but seeing that this is our fourth year of doing this thing, I’m sure we’ve got lots of past zingers built up to please both young and old.

Expect to hear more news about both of these things in the upcoming days! 

Oscar host Billy Crystal (with CGI Jack Palance) on the set of "City Slickers 3: Throw Curly From the Train"


Feb 1 2012

The Family Guy Maneuver


Let’s take a look at that new super bowl ad with Matthew Broderick:

Now at first glance, this appears to be a parody of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. But it isn’t. A real parody takes something you recognize and puts a comedic twist on it. Okay yes, traditionally the purpose is to mock the original work which isn’t exactly happening here, and technically maybe this is more a pastiche or whatever. But my point is this is supposed to be funny. You’re supposed to laugh when you see present day Matthew Broderick doing a parody (or whatever) of his role in Ferris Bueller. Only there aren’t any jokes in this.

It’s not bad. It’s a reasonably competent commercial. But every potentially funny moment is just a carbon copy of a moment in Ferris Bueller. The sick day call, the parade, the stuff with the car, all straight up lifted–and this is the important part–WITHOUT any new twist. They could have shown Broderick failing at all his wacky antics, playing on the fact that he’s not a kid anymore but his fancy Honda makes him feel like one anyway. In that scenario, you’re taking something familiar and changing it a little to get your joke. I wouldn’t be surprised if that was the original pitch. Instead we get exact scenes from the original movie, and you’re expected to laugh just because you remember it.

I like to call this the Family Guy Maneuver because that show does it all the time. Let’s check out an example in high quality taped-off-TV-o-vision…

So yeah it’s an exact recreation of the Power of Love part of Back to the Future…and nothing else. This is basically the same as the drunk guy in the bar trying to reenact the standup routine he saw last week. Listen, I love parodies. But before you laugh, please double check your parody contains jokes.

Jan 30 2012

Leprosy Groups About as Much Fun as a Boat Full of Lepers

Watch this:

Funny stuff, right?  And that joke about the leper boat?  Gets me every time.  But you know who’s not laughing?


That’s right.  Pirates animation company Aardman is altering that scene in their upcoming film due to objections from leprosy groups.  My first reaction to this was “Lepers still exist…and they have groups?”  My second reaction was to seriously start thinking about which of my friends may be lepers (I’m looking at you, Deb).  My final reaction, and the most important one, was “THE FUCKING HELL?!”

Have we really become so politically correct that we now have to worry about offending lepers?  If it’s gotten to the point that we can’t even make fun of the damn lepers, than who are we allowed to make fun of? 

Well, I’m putting a stop to this right now.  You know what?  Fuck you, lepers.  I’d say that I wish you’d contact some hideous disease and die, but you’re already a goddamn leper.  At least stop complaining about children’s films long enough so you can hear me laughing at you.

Jan 25 2012

Crispin Glover fails to deliver weirdness for once.


So apparently the Oscar nominees have been announced. /Film has a great roundup of those. Whatever. That’s not what we’re talking about right now.

Crispin Glover. If you’re not familiar with the man’s work, let me remind you that you are:

Even if you’ve only seen Back to the Future, you get the sense that that is one weird dude. Let’s take a look at some of his other work. There’s this…

And this…

And finally, lest you think he only plays creepy lunatics in the movies, here’s what he does when you put him on a talk show:

With this in mind, you can imagine my elation when I discovered that the man had a mailing list. Yes, you can sign up to get periodic emails from Crispin Glover. All you have to do is find his freakishly stark and terrifying website. A website that consistently refers to him as “Crispin Hellion Glover”, which just serves to underscore the weirdness, even though that is apparently his real full name.  Needless to say, I signed up immediately. And after three years of membership, I think I’ve earned the right to voice a complaint:

“Crispin Hellion Glover, how is your mailing list not weirder?”

Seriously, I joined expecting long paranoid screeds about the forest people that steal Crispin Glover’s mail, or detailed graphs showing which parts of his kitchen secretly resent him. Instead, it’s just some publicity blurbs about his pet project movie series and a boring list of tour dates. Don’t get me wrong, the movies themselves sound BATSHIT INSANE. I’d go see them, but I’m afraid they’d hypnotize me and turn me into one of his rat slaves.

In fact, comparing the email I got this week to one from 2008…this is the EXACT same text with only the tour dates updated! Come on, Crispin Hellion Glover! I paid (nothing) for your unique brand of unsettling behavior and I expect a return on my investment.

Either the next email’s written in the menstrual blood of an endangered African rhino, or I’m unsubscribing.

Jan 23 2012

Adam Green Spends the Weekend Sexually Teasing Logan

Yeah, I made up the “sexually” part up, but it got you reading this, so why stop now?

Many of you long time readers may recall me practically begging Adam Green to make several sequels to his throwback horror film Hatchet.  Then he went and made Hatchet II and I mostly complained.  It wasn’t flat-out terrible, but I think it’s now safe to say that it was overall disappointing. 

Then, in an obvious bid to keep me in his good graces, Green made what may end up being one of my favorite films of 2011, Chillerama.  His segment in Chillerama, entitled The Diary of Anne Frankenstein, is one of the funniest spoofs I’ve seen in a very long time, and well worth the price of the DVD.  Not only that, but on the bonus features Green hints at what we were all thinking: Hatchet II was a disappointment. 

Which brings us to this weekend.  Green posted the following picture on his Facebook page late Friday night:

Oh, Adam, you tease, you.  Now all you have to do is get the original Marybeth back and then just tell me where to insert my money.  If you need me I’ll be over there.

Jan 11 2012

Shorts to Movies


Last night I saw The Perfect Host, a 2010 dark comedy starring David Hyde Pierce. I liked parts of it quite a bit. Some very interesting twists and turns, and a really awesome performance by Pierce. Still, I was left unsatisfied. The ending didn’t make a ton of sense, and big chunks of the story just didn’t agree with each other. A little online legwork reveals a possible explanation: the movie was adapted from a short.

This happens more often than you’d think, but I’ve noticed it’s often a recipe for a disjointed film. District 9 is another recent example. I loved a lot of that movie too, but again, the end was a letdown. And looking back, a lot of the beginning feels like filler padding out a much shorter story.

I’m not saying it’s impossible to make a successful short-to-feature transition, but I do think it’s a little counter-intuitive to the creative process. If you can tell your story perfectly in 20 minutes, it seems artificial to throw in more scenes just to beef up the runtime.

Jan 4 2012

The last word (for now) on the theater experience


I saw Mission Impossible in IMAX last week and I’ve been mulling two things over ever since. The first is that I’m going to try not italicizing movie titles in blog posts anymore. Because it’s annoying to do and you know when I’m talking about a movie right? Can we agree to let that slide for the time being? Good. Thing two, though, is an issue that keeps coming up on this blog/podcast: the “theater experience.” Mainly, how it differs from the experience of just watching a movie at home, and whether it’s actually all that necessary anymore now that we’ve all got reasonably nice televisions, easy access to new movies, and addictions to texting during the slow bits.

Obviously, Hollywood’s been chewing on this topic too, as evidenced by the gimmicks they’ve been pulling out to get people into the theaters. 3D’s been the big one, and as Logan and I have said before, it’s not doing it for me. I like gimmicky 3D like in Piranha or My Bloody Valentine. There it’s fun. But in most other cases it feels tacked on and unnecessary. Theater chains have also tried offering big cushy seats for premium prices. But you know what? I’ve got a whole couch at home, and it doesn’t cost me 10 bucks extra to sit on it.

Which brings us to IMAX. “Okay,” Hollywood implores us, “you may think movies are just as good at home, but does your home have a 70 FOOT SCREEN?!?!” “No,” I reply, speaking for all of us, “no it does not, that would be ridiculous.” But I do have a reasonably large TV. And I’ve got friends with even bigger TVs. TVs that take up entire walls of their homes. And I’ve noticed that the universal truth about the size of a screen is this: after about 10 minutes you stop noticing it.

Yes, Mission Impossible looked great in IMAX. And there were times when I felt more immersed and part of the action. Brad Bird used that space wisely. But because I’m crazy, I also went to see Mission Impossible in a regular theater. And let me remind you folks, a regular movie screen is still pretty damn big. The difference made by IMAX isn’t worth the higher ticket price. And I argue that seeing the movie at home would have been equally enjoyable.

So 3D, fancy seats, IMAX, none of these are motivating me to leave the house. But a couple days ago I had another experience. An old theater was showing Vertigo and I got to see a Hitchcock film in theaters for the first time. I loved it. Not because I love the movie Vertigo. It’s pretty good, but it’s not a goto of mine. In fact the print was kind of muddy and the sound wasn’t great. What I loved was just being in a theater filled with people who wanted to watch Vertigo. It’s that community kind of feel that I so rarely get with new movies. I love laughing along with an audience at a great comedy, or hearing screams in a horror movie. That’s the heart of the theater experience for me. Sharing a movie with other people.

Maybe as movie theaters become marginalized and your TV becomes the default spot for new movies, then the only people who bother to go to the theaters will be people who feel like I do. And if that’s the case, as Logan has theorized before, theaters will be forced to cater to those people like the Alamo Drafthouse does: by taking a hard stance against talking and texting and bringing the love of enjoying a movie with others back to the movie theater.

Or they could just make everything holograms. I’d go to that.

Jan 2 2012

2012: The Year We Make Contact

What’s that you say?  2010 was the year we made contact?  No no.  I was talking about that other movie, Contact.  You know, the one with Matthew McConaughey.  Not that movie 2010: The Year We Make Contact.  I was just saying that 2012 is the year that Hollywood plans to…uh…remake Contact.  Yeah, that’s exactly what I was saying.  Shut up.  I should know what I’m talking about. I happen to run a movie blog. 

Speaking of which, we’re back!  That’s right, and all of your favorite CE! contributors are here!  There’s me.  You remember me, right?  I mostly post about Chevy Chase and complain about how remakes are dumb and so are today’s teens.  What with their Facebooks, Rock ‘n’ Roll High Schools, and Crispin Glover fan clubs.  I plan to complain about all of this and more every Monday. 

And then there’s Ryan as well.  I’d venture to say that he’s more in touch with what’s “hip” and “happening” and even go as far as to say that he’s got his “finger on the pulse of America’s youth”, which he’s still facing some jail time for in several states.  You’ll hear from him every Wednesday.

Finally, we have the original CE! Podcast, which you’ll be able to catch every so often on Fridays.  Can you believe that li’l stinker is 100 episodes old?  Talk about something that should have died around episode 15!  Am I right or am I right?

So there’s your sneak peak at what you have to look forward to this year at Critical End!  Pretty neat stuff, right?  Now, without further ado, let’s get the old ball rolling with today’s news!  That’s right, it’s the first news we’re reporting of 2012 and it’s coming up right now!  Look out!  Here it comes!  Take it away, Logan!


There is no news today.

Nov 18 2011

Oh man, I know I shouldn’t be excited…


…but holy hell…

Chalk it up to 80’s nostalgia and my unexplainable happiness that Arnold’s making movies again, but…man that looks cool.

[/Film via JoBlo]

Oct 10 2011

The Muppets try to improve the theater experience


[via /Film]